Living with wildfire: imagining, narrating and acting upon a changing climate (LiFi) – 2023-2026
Climate change and biodiversity loss have for long hinged on apocalyptic images of future catastrophes that must be acted upon before it is too late. Recently, new scientific, artistic, and activist narratives have gained ground that suggest the socio-ecological catastrophe is already here and inescapable. The LiFi project engages with these post-apocalyptic narratives through the lens of extreme wildfire events. It asks how lived experiences of events such as the Black Summer fires influence the way communities imagine, narrate and act upon their environmental relations and futures. With case-studies in Sweden, Australia, Portugal, Turkey and Brazil, LiFi investigates both the traumatic dimensions of wildfire events (e.g. eco-anxiety, grief, loss) as well as the potential of such events to transform community imaginaries, agency and political organization.
LiFi interweaves political discourse theory and interpretive methods within a transdisciplinary framework. Working with fire-affected communities, it investigates communities’ changing priorities, how recovery and sustainability are re-imagined and what shared visions for the future gain ground. LiFi will unearth archetypal political ’fantasies’ that emerge after profound socio-ecological disruption, and the possibilities these bring to creatively renegotiate collective values, environmental rights, obligations and political participation and engagement. Through its transdisciplinary approach, LiFi seeks to help communities develop soft skills and policy tools necessary to build resilience in a rapidly warming world. In the LiFi project, Elise will be leading a case-study in the Eurobodalla Shire in NSW Australia.
LiFi is funded by a research grant from Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS).